Authors
Enakshi Mitra
University of Delhi
Abstract
Gandhi’s writings on the issue of Caturvarṇa, despite their apparent lacunas, dogmatic tones and seeming inconsistencies, are available to a convincing reconstruction. With this purpose in view, the first section of this paper will attempt to give an anti-foundational reading of Caturvarṇa—where varṇa is seen to be based neither on the different proportions of the three guṇas, nor on a system of hereditary professions, but as abstract dimensions that are not mutually exclusive—and at best serves to give an orientation to our cognition and actions. This reading, while borrowing heavily from Shri Aurobindo’s reading of Caturvarṇa, will seek to give it a more neutral and expansive direction, shorn of all associated suggestions of intransigence and empirical contingencies, in order to effect the best possible synthesis with Gandhi. The second section of this paper will concentrate on appropriate portions of Gandhi’s commentary on Gῑtā, trying to track down Gandhi’s reservations against any psychological determinism with respect to varṇa. His direct but scattered observations on varṇa and caste will be addressed in the last section—to see how far our neutral reading of Caturvarṇa can be responsibly reconciled with his distinction between varṇa and caste—indicating a way to dissolve the Gandhi-Ambedkar debate on varṇabheda and jātibheda. Overall, this paper attempts a paradigmatic reconstruction of Gandhian Caturvarṇa in the light of his approach to the notion of niṣkāma karma.
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DOI 10.1007/s40961-020-00219-1
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References found in this work BETA

Gandhi and Ambedkar: Irreconcilable Differences?Aakash Singh - 2014 - International Journal of Hindu Studies 18 (3):413-449.
The Synthesis of Yoga.Aurobindo Ghose - 1948 - Madras, Sri Aurobindo Library.
The Bhagavadgītā.S. Radhakrishnan - 1949 - Philosophy 24 (89):162-164.

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